We are well aware of the impact tourism has at home and abroad, and we make every effort to balance the environmental impact of travelling with the immense benefits sustainable tourism can bring to destinations and the people who live there. So we start in the office: we turn off all electrical equipment every night; we use energy-efficient bulbs; we measure print and paper consumption, and re-cycle wherever possible; we print our brochures on paper from sustainable sources, and send them out in bio-degradable packaging.
Leaders & local suppliers:
The following extract is from Gail Simmon’s interview with our local taxi driver – he collects our guests at the ferry port, then moves luggage between hotels as guests cycle from one hotel to the next. It appeared in The Sunday Telegraph on 10 June 2012:
“I was 22 when I left Gozo, the Maltese island where I was born. There wasn’t enough work so I followed my friends to New York and became an elevator mechanic. Thirty one years later, I’m back. In some ways it’s unchanged. Every Gozitan still knows one another; old folk can leave their doors unlocked; some still use horse-drawn carts. But, in other ways, Gozo is unrecognisable. Every year, more than 800,000 tourists visit our once-deserted island, on walking holidays, or to enjoy the coastline. Our neighbour, Malta, has become too busy for them – the gridlock is like Manhattan! While tourism revived Gozo’s economy, some worry it will destroy our sleepy way of life, as it has Malta’s. Recently, a bridge connecting the islands was proposed, but the older generation refused. Tourism sustains my job driving taxis, though, so I can’t complain. There’s not much work for elevator mechanics on an island with no skyscrapers.”
Having no minimum number means that groups sizes can be small and therefore the trips have less impact on the environment.
Walking has minimal impact on the environment as you provide most of the energy yourself and, when you’re strolling from village to village, you can enjoy a relationship with locals in a way motorists passing through never can. On foot, you get off the beaten track, and you’ll find that people treat you as a visitor rather than a tourist. Also, by walking independently, and not having to worry about keeping up with a group, you set the pace so you can soak up the sights, sounds and scents of your surrounds and really get under the skin of the place you’re visiting.
We proactively encourage walking clients to think about travelling responsibly too: packing light, saving water, buying locally and re-cycling all maps and route notes at the end of their trip.